There are two legal currencies in Cuba, the Cuban Convertible peso (CUC) and the Cuban peso (CUP). The CUC is the currency used by tourists and is around 1.1 to the USD. The CUP can be used to pay for street food, local shops, buses and Cuba’s fixed route taxis (shared rides in vintage American taxis known as almendrones or taxi collective).
It’s important to note that Cuban currency isn’t traded internationally so you’ll have to exchange it there, however only the following currencies are accepted:
- British pound
- Canadian pound
- Canadian dollar
- Japanese Yen
- Mexican peso
- Swiss franc.
The exchange rate varies on a daily basis and can be checked at this link.
Where to exchange your money:
- The best exchange rate is a Bank.
- The next best exchange rate as it any Cadeca. A Cadeca (Casas de Cambio which means House of Exchange) is a government exchange facility. They are located at many resorts and hotels, and at locations all over the Island.
- The next best rate is at the Airport Cadeca. Here, please carefully count your bills infront of the cashier. Even though it is a Government operated counter, it would not be the first time, that some bills "get lost" when handing over the whole bundle to the cashier without counting. Better hand over each bill seperately and let them count the amount of bills themselve.
- The worst rate can potentially be over-the-counter at any hotel or resort because the rate is not regulated by the government.
On a one or two week all-inclusive holiday the difference between Options 1, 2 and 3 is probably immaterial.
The US dollar and US credit cards are accepted however there’s a 10% tax for the privilege so it’s best to convert USD into one of the accepted currencies before you travel.